Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RTN Using National Feed; CBS Pulls Password on Sundays, Rules Back on Mondays in March

The other day we gave you an update on what is happening at RTN (Retro Television Network). On Sunday morning, many RTN affiliates had an on-screen message saying the contract with Equity has expired. Then shortly after RTN resumed programming or was replaced totally. On Equity-owned stations, like in Buffalo, RTN has been replaced totally with other programming. RTN was once owned by Equity, but was sold to Luken Communications in June. Equity's contract to distribute RTN had been extended a week past its Dec. 24 expiration date but Dec. 24 also was the deadline on Equity's option to buy back RTN from current owner Luken Communications. Equity is no longer allowed to air the RTN programs on its stations, including WNGS in Buffalo. However, an Equity spokesperson said it eventually might be able to bring the RTN programs back to the Equity stations.
For non-Equity stations, RTN is now using its national feed to program RTN. RTN stations had their own local feed, but due to this Equity fiasco, RTN made a sooner-than-expected flash cut to a new master control and uplink center in Chattanooga, Tenn. By 9 a.m. Sunday, it was able to restore service to most of their stations (not Equity-owned stations, of course) with national feeds.
So what is the schedule like for this national feed? I suggest you take a look at the national feed schedule we posted, so you know what is going to air. Now there are reports that RTN is way off time right now airing shows up to 20 minutes late, so be aware of that. This national feed might be good for some stations because they will get programs that weren't on their local feed. Until this is resolved, RTN will have this national feed to all of its stations. It could be up until today or last the rest of the month or longer, so no idea right now. But it will be nice to see Munsters Today and Harry and the Hendersons on Sunday morning for those stations who didn't get those! If this conflict is still going on Sunday, that is.
There were only four major Equity-owned RTN stations that RTN lost: Little Rock; Buffalo, N.Y.; Panama City, Fla.; and Spokane, Wash. They account for less than 1 percent of the nation's TV households, a small fraction of the network's total reach, which now hovers around 40 percent. In any event, the lost affiliates will be replaced quickly by new affiliates.
RTN won't be allowed to air original programming that Equity had produced such as the late night series Unreliable Sources and Closing Remarks, so total classic TV fans are happy about that, I'm sure.
Equity also refused to transfer RTN's website to RTN. So fans looking for RTNville.com, the website is now MyRetroTV.com. On some stations, RTN is calling themselves MyRetroTV, as well. Will this fiasco force them to change their name, too? We shall see. I'm trying to get in touch with RTN (Mark and Neal if you're reading, please contact me!), and we hope to reach them soon. Due to all of this, their contact info has changed. We hope to try and sit down with them to get you all the information you need. Maybe another Seven Questions interview? We'll try!

CBS has altered its Sunday schedule for the next three weeks. They have pulled Million Dollar Password. The show was originally scheduled for its final two new episodes on Jan. 11 and 25. The show has been doing decent in total viewers but lagging in the adult 18-49 demo. This Sunday (January 11) a special 60 Minutes will air at 8pm following an NFL playoff game from 4-8pm. On Sunday, January 18, CBS will air an all-new episode of The Mentalist on a special night & time at 10pm ET (7pm PT) following the NFL AFC Championship Game from 6-10pm ET. The Mentalist will air immediately following the game on ALL time zones. So 9pm CT, 8pm MT and 7pm PT. In Mountain and Pacific zones, a repeat of The Unit will follow 9pm MT and 8pm PT. Pacific time will have local programming after the repeat of The Unit. Finally, on Sunday, January 25, Million Dollar Password will be replaced with an all-new Cold Case at a special time of 8pm, leading into the Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie from 9-11pm.
So what does this mean for Million Dollar Password? The following week is the Super Bowl, so it is not likely a new episode will air against that. It can't air on Feb. 8 because of the Grammy Awards and then starting Feb. 15 The Amazing Race returns to the slot. So looks like it will not return to Sundays anytime soon. What about Thursdays at 8? They have repeats scheduled thru January 22, but nothing has been booked for January 29 and Feb. 5, so the two final episodes can air then maybe? Survivor returns Feb. 12. I do expect these two episodes to air but not sure exactly when yet. We'll let you know.
Meanwhile, CBS has announced it will return sitcom Rules of Engagement on Monday, March 2 following Two and a Half Men at 9:30pm ET/PT. Worst Week will finish its 16 episodes on Feb. 9 and we won't know probably if that show will return next season until upfront in May. It doesn't look too promising, though. CBS will air repeats on Feb. 16 and 23 of other CBS comedies likely until Rules launches.
View our full CBS schedule updates.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January)

The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Married with Children - Seasons 7 and 8 (Mill Creek) The Facts of Life - The Complete Series Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season

01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Girls - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Seven (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Eight (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Seasons Seven and Eight (Mill Creek)
01/13 - The Big House - The Complete Series
01/13 - Episodes - The Third Season
01/13 - The Facts of Life - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory
01/20 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, January 26

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 26) (All times ET unless noted)

Monday, January 26

  • Louis CK (Louie) - Watch Louis on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tony Danza (Taxi/Who's the Boss?) - Tony is a guest on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) - Alan visits The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Maya Rudolph (Up All Night) - Maya appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ken Marino (Marry Me/Party Down), John Gemberling (Broad City/Marry Me) and Tymberlee Hill (Marry Me/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Ken, John and Tymberlee are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Amanda Peet (Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin chats on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Bob Saget (Full House/How I Met Your Mother) - Bob is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly visits The Real, so check your local listings. She also guest-hosts Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Mario and his wife Courtney are guests on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York between 7-10am.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal - NeNe talks about the highlights of the SAG Awards on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Josh Molina (Sports Night) - Josh is a guest on SI Now.